Kenya and Tanzania observed Tuesday the 20th anniversary of al-Qaida’s deadly bombings of U.S. embassies in those countries that marked the emergence of the militant group as a global security threat.
More than 250 people were killed and nearly 5,000 others injured in huge explosions that occurred minutes apart in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
Three years later, al-Qaida members would fly passenger planes into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon outside Washington, killing almost 3,000 people.
Victims’ families and officials were reunited at a ceremony in a memorial park that was built on the site of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. The ceremony, attended by U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, featured the Nairobi Chamber Choir performing Kenyan and American national anthems and participants holding candles while the names of the victims were read.
A similar memorial service was scheduled in Dar es Salaam.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday “our partnership with our African allies remains stronger than ever.”
Pompeo’s deputy, John Sullivan, said Wednesday the anniversary is a reminder of the “bravery, heroism, compassion and sacrifice” of the victims and survivors and that U.S. “resolve is as strong today as ever” to defeat al-Qaida and other militant groups.